16 July, 2012
British sportscar racing driver Sarah Reader claimed two solid results in Rounds 7 and 8 of the SPEED EuroSeries, supporting the European Le Mans Series, at Donington Park last weekend. Despite coping with a chest infection for the whole weekend, the BWRDC Gold Star winner only narrowly missed out on a podium but still put two P4′s next to her name in the drivers’ standings and was also awarded Sunoco Driver of the Weekend.
Due to treacherous conditions on Friday, the #24 TFL Racing Juno got little running during the two free practice sessions, leaving the team unsure of a set up for Saturday’s dry qualifying session. However, Reader still posted the third fastest time for much of qualifying before being edged in the dying minutes, forcing her to start from P5 and P4 for races 1 and 2 respectively.
In Race 1, despite the drizzling rain, Reader started on slicks and made a good start before an early safety car disrupted play. Once the race was back under way, Reader enjoyed a battle with Nick Padmore and Dean Stirling for P5, before coming in to the pits after 35 minutes.
Reader rejoined the race with a clear track and used the time wisely to put in some hot laps. However, after several yellow flags and having caught up with backmarkers, Anthony Gandon in the Team TFT Norma managed to close in, leaving Reader to defend position.
Gandon briefly managed to get passed the TFL Racing entry at the Melbourne Loop but out-braked himself, allowing Reader to take back her position.
In the last third of the race Reader put in an error-free drive to ensure Gandon’s car stayed behind right up to the last corner where the latter made one last desperate attempt to get passed. He was unable to make the move stick and hit Reader’s #24 car in the process, pushing both cars off course. However, Reader collected it up first out of the two and took the chequered flag in a hard earned but well deserved P4.
The second of the weekend’s races saw Reader get away well from 4th on the grid and hold position in the opening stages.
As the pit window opened, Reader found herself in some clean air and took full advantage by setting a series of personal best laps as she went on the hunt for Gugliemli Belotti’s Wolf for the last spot on the podium.
Having significantly closed the gap on Belotti to just 0.9 seconds, unfortunately Reader ran out of time and the chequered flag dropped after 40 laps of racing, leaving her to settle with P4.
“It’s been a great weekend and a massive thank you to everyone at TFL Racing and Juno for their efforts and I’m delighted with the results we’ve achieved. The car felt really good and we found a great set up that allowed me to push.
“I’m delighted and surprised to have received the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend Award, and at our home race makes it that bit more special.
“I really enjoy the Donington circuit and I came into the weekend feeling very confident but it was a real struggle with feeling so ill, and particularly before the first race I felt seriously rough.
“We’ll be working hard and looking to carry the momentum from this weekend to Brno where hopefully we can grab a podium which I’m already looking forward to.”
There is now an eight-week break in the calendar before the SPEED EuroSeries heads to the Czech Republic for Rounds 9 and 10 at Brno.